David Plyler ‘06 lives on the road. More specifically, he lives in a Zac Brown Band tour bus (when he’s not home in Nashville). Plyler is a representative from ROAR, the band’s management company, who travels to every show. His position requires extreme attention to detail, calm under pressure, organizational genius and unfailing resourcefulness. An alumnus of the College of Charleston business administration and hospitality and tourism management programs, he was ready to take on this job and it’s many, many surprises.
Q: How did you end up at your current company?
A: I knew I wanted to work in the music industry, so a few years out of college I relocated from South Carolina to Nashville. I began working as a server and bartender at a restaurant I knew was a local industry hotspot hoping to make a few connections. I also volunteered for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Musicians On Call, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the WO Smith Music School to expand my network.
I was awarded the title of Nashville’s Top 30 Under 30 business professionals. After eight months at the restaurant, I got a call from a regular customer who was starting a new publishing and management company and looking for a young go-getter to help him out. After being with this start-up company for less than a year I received a call from third largest agency in the world and was offered a job. Everything has come together like that, between hard work and networking, since I got to Nashville.
Q: What do you do at ROAR?
A: ROAR is a talent, music, and brand management firm based in Beverly Hills with offices in New York, Atlanta and Nashville. I started as an executive assistant to the head of the Nashville office and then after eight months between 2012 and 2013 my boss said “we’re going to send you on the road with the Zac Brown Band.” I said “great, when do I start?” He said “tomorrow.”
I’m on the road with Zac Brown Band four-to-five days a week. I handle the ticketing for VIPs, media, radio and sponsors. Part of my job on the ROAR team is facilitating and bringing Zac’s ideas to fruition – so the Southern Ground Food and Music Festival was his brainchild, for example. Zac curates the artists and chefs for the festival, and ROAR, along with Jam Productions and Outback Concerts, produces the festivals.
At the first festival he wanted ‘stage boxes’ for VIPs, so patrons who buy these VIP tickets get a seat at a table on the main stage, and they receive an amazing meal while they watch the show. That was all Zac’s idea that we helped bring to life.
He also wanted a mobile kitchen on the road to prepare a meal and give the fans a unique, hospitable experience, so one of the 11 trucks we take on the road is a restaurant-quality kitchen named “Cookie.”
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
A: It’s great to work with such talented, creative people. I love my job everyday, but I especially love the food. People on tour with Zac don’t eat your typical tour food. We have great meals on the road.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I hope to continue to work on the road with the Zac Brown Band and absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Q: Who are some artists to watch?
A: Ben Rector and Clare Bowen.
Q: How did your time at the College prepare you for your career?
A: Being the President of Kappa Sigma made me more business savvy and taught me how to motivate and manage people.
I took an entrepreneurship class led by Tommy Baker that was entirely made up of successful local entrepreneurs. We dressed in a full suit every day and listened to these community members talk about everything they learned while building their own businesses. I also worked in the Charleston Place Hotel and that was really valuable experience.
Q: What advice would you give current students?
A: Use this time to build relationships – get internships, set up informational interviews, meet with your professors, attend networking events. And don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note, it lets someone know you were paying attention and shows that you care enough to follow up. That goes a long way.